Insurance Company Bad Faith
Insurance Companies Who Act in Bad Faith May Owe You More
Disclaimer: The following does not constitute legal advice. The following is intended only as a general explanation of some legal principles that operate in Georgia. The circumstances of each case are different, and your circumstances may or may not apply to the ideas explained on this website.
Insurance Companies Owe a Duty Not to Act in Bad Faith
Georgia insurance companies owe a duty not to act in bad faith both in the handling of your claim and in protecting the interests of their own insured customers. A Georgia insurance company that acts in bad faith can sometimes end up owing you more than the original claim amount or even more than the policy limits of its insured. At Millar & Mixon, LLC, we are Georgia lawyers familiar with the laws governing insurance company conduct.
Know Your Legal Rights with Insurance Settlements and Bad Faith
You may have the right to make a demand that the insurance company settle your injury claim within the negligent party’s insurance limits within a limited period of time. Should the negligent person’s insurance company fail to settle your claim, under some circumstances [including, but not limited to, cases of clear liability, or where your damages clearly exceed the at-fault party’s insurance limits], the insurance company may end up owing you more than the insurance policy limits. Of course, each case is different and not all insurance company refusals to settle will result in bad faith penalties. It is, however, unlikely that any insurance company or adjuster will explain the potential for such “excess” damages to you. Nor is it likely that an insurance company will explain what steps you must take to place the company on notice of the potential for such excess insurance settlement or judgment. A Georgia attorney will be, or should be, very familiar with this process.
Bad Faith in the Handling of an Injury Claim
In Georgia, an insurance company can, under some special circumstances, owe you more than its insured customer’s policy limits, if it:
- Fails to give the same consideration to its insured’s interests as the company does to its own.
- Acts with an arbitrary belief or attitude that the at-fault party is not liable to you.
- Arbitrarily or capriciously refuses to entertain your reasonable settlement offer.
Bad Faith in the Handling of a Vehicle Damage Claim
Under Georgia law, an insurance company can breach its duty to you if, after investigation, “liability has become reasonably clear and the insurer in bad faith offers less than the amount reasonably owed under all the circumstances of which the insurer is aware.” An insurance company that breaches its duty to reasonably settle your claim for damages to your car, truck or motorcycle can end up owing you financial penalties and possibly attorneys fees.